Saipan public library notes increasing visitor traffic

»JKPL prepares for 20th year celebration in December

Joeten-Kiyu Public Library executive director John O. Gonzales shows members of Saipan Rotary Club the upward trend in the volume of individuals who visit the library on a monthly basis. JKPL, which was established in 1992, will celebrate 20 years of service in December. (Moneth G. Deposa)  More and more community members are visiting the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library each day, according to executive director John O. Gonzales.

Citing statistics presented to members of the Saipan Rotary Club during its weekly meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan yesterday, Gonzales said the public library posted almost a two-fold increase in its patron traffic in June alone, recording 11,058 visitors. This is a big jump from the May number of 7,813 individuals.

Patron traffic refers to the volume of people who come in to check in and check out library books and materials.

The upward trend in visitor traffic began in December last year with 6,039 patrons. January recorded 6,952 visitors; February had 7,120; March, 7,705; and April, 5,377.

Based on the library’s database, library card members total 35,627.

Gonzales disclosed that they issued new library cards to new members: 94 in December; 120 in January; 107 in February; 127 in March; 73 in April; 96 in May; and 220 in June.

A similar increase was also noted in the volume of books and library materials that were checked out and borrowed by members, particularly in June when JKPL issued out 9,252 materials, compared to May with 6,318.

Gonzales disclosed the following monthly circulation: 5,151 in December; 5,622 in January; 6,333 in February; 6,404 in March; and 4,050 in April.

Gonzales credited the uptick to the commitment and collaboration of library partners and supporters who continue to promote reading literacy on island.

The library has a total collection of 62,735 books and other materials. This number, according to Gonzales, is expected to rise in the coming months in time for the consolidation of other library collections on Tinian and Rota. He estimated the total collection on three islands to reach 90,000.

The Tinian Public Library has about 15,000 materials while the newly opened Antonio C. Atalig Memorial Public Library in Rota has 3,000 to 4,000.

20-year anniversary

Gonzales announced yesterday that JKPL, which was established in 1992, will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in December. A three-day celebration is being prepared for Dec. 14 to 16 and a special committee has already been formed to prepare for this event.

He said that JKPL was able to increase its operational funding from $2,000 to $6,000 this fiscal year inclusive of the ongoing repairs of the library roof. From previous years’ 12 full-time employees, the facility currently has seven employees.

Because the public library was built by and for the community, Gonzales encouraged the public to visit the library and take pride in it. He enumerated the various programs and activities they offer-all aimed to promote reading and literacy.

Among these programs are the Read Aloud, Story Hours, Mother/Father Read, Movie Night, and other cultural activities. He also cited the success of the Children of Our Homeland Cultural Center, the Information Technology Center, and the JKPL Bookmobile that have served thousands of children across the islands.

Gonzales said he continues to make the library not only a repository facility but a sanctuary and refuge to the community.

“Whatever cost of the libraries, they are cheap and they’re nothing compared to the cost of an ignorant nation. In these challenging times, our library becomes more relevant, more now than ever. Please come and visit because JKPL is also a refuge and a sanctuary,” he added.

By Moneth Deposa

Moneth G. Deposa | Reporter

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